Get to the Punchline!

30 Jun

Hey everyone, guess what!  I finally did some comedy on a stage in front of people.  And now I’m going to talk about it with my fingers by using them to push keys on a computer.  Why am I being so explicit?  I’m like the R. Kelly of blogging right now.

For me, comedy is like riding a bike: I have to do it all the time to stay remotely competent.  So a week layoff made me feel a little rusty.  Add to that that Sarah’s mom was seeing me do standup for the first time.  Add to that that I’m performing at a club I’ve never worked at before in front of a very selective booker.  So I was a little edgier than usual coming into the night.

When I walked into the room, it was filling up, and there was a nice warm buzz of chatter and anticipation.  I checked in in the green room and settled down considerably.  I was just excited to get onstage.

That's where I was, but several minutes later.

The show (“What’s Crackin'”) was produced and hosted by Ali Wong, who is pretty terrific.  She very generously offered to put me onstage, and she booked a really tight overall lineup of great comics.  Ali opened with a long set that seemed shorter because it was very enjoyable.  I really admire her rawness and command of the stage.  She has sort of a Chris Rock-y prowl and focus that really captivate the audience.  Also, super funny.

I was next.  I was a lot like me.  (Can you tell I have a hard time writing about my own performances?)  It was a really fun time.  It took me about two minutes to really settle in, but then I started to feel a lot more comfortable and get on what they call in show business or bread-making “a roll.”  The audience was very attentive and fun.  I wanted to bring out some newer jokes because I am self-conscious about doing material that the five people I knew in the crowd had seen before.  But I stayed disciplined and did a ten-minute set of all tried and true material, which was the right choice.  I got to tell some of my favorite jokes, including one I call “Randy a Competitor,” which is perfect for a smallish room (but for some reason doesn’t go over great in theaters, but that’s another story).

The rest of the show was really enjoyable, and it seemed like all of the comics watched each other, which is an environment that I really like.  It’s much better to feel like you’re on a team where everyone is interested in each others’ success.  After me, Lilibeth Helson went on.  She has a really interesting rhythm to her jokes and had some funny jokes about kung fu, skeletons, and her mom.  Then special guest Hannibal Buress went up and destroyed for several minutes.  His jokes are all so creative and well-written, and his cadence is so locked in that he gets laughs at the end of pretty much every sentence.  He has a CD coming out at the end of July that I’m really excited to hear.  Louis Katz closed out the show, and he’s a really strong writer and performer.  I am a big fan of his stuff, especially his joke about marching band that is a zillion times better than my joke about marching band.  I have linked to both jokes.  No need to comment!

His:

http://www.rooftopcomedy.com/watch/MarchingBand

Mine:

http://www.rooftopcomedy.com/watch/IPlayTheTrombone

After the show, people gave me lots of positive feedback, including the advice to do more voices, which I am going to try and take, because I enjoy making weird sounds come out of my face..  Hopefully I can come back to the Punchline soon!  Thanks Ali for putting me on the show, and everyone else there for being very cool and helpful!

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